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If you were one of the gamers looking to get your hands on the updated versions of Pokemon Ultra Sun or Ultra Moon that just came out this month, you may have noticed something while playing the newly released games: That there was as a small tribute to former Nintendo CEO, Satoru Iwata, who passed away back in July of 2015.
As gamers have been making their way through the Alola region again, one gamer found the tribute that the Game Freak developers managed to include in the recently released Pokemon Ultra Sun and Pokemon Ultra Moon for the Nintendo 3DS, as pointed out by Twitter user Joe Merrick.
In the game the tribute comes in the form of an NPC retelling a story at the HeaHea City Offices, where if you go over and talk to him he gives you a brief history about the development of the Pokemon franchise, including Pokemon Gold and Silver. He explains that the team was having trouble fitting all the data on the cart for the two games, and that a special someone came along and developed a program for the team to compress the data and fit everything onto the carts that were shipping for the Game Boy Color. The NPC then goes on to explain that the special someone went on to run a company as the president, hence he's referring to Satoru Iwata becoming president of Nintendo.
Gamers were quick to recognize that the NPC's story was actually a recount of how Satoru Iwata started as a brilliant game designer and moved up the ladder to eventually run Nintendo and innovate the company in unforeseen ways, leading to the massive successes of products like the Nintendo 3DS and the Nintendo Wii. Gamers are still very thankful for the forward-thinking approach Iwata took with designing games and finding new ways to incorporate the creative game designing techniques that made him renown developer into a renown CEO.
Eurogamer offers a slightly more detailed retelling of the matter, explaining how the small nugget of info in Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon is a nice bit of trivia, but leaves out the part where Iwata actually wanted the previous Kanto region from the earlier Pokemon Red and Pokemon Blue games to appear in the next generation of games called Pokemon Gold and Pokemon Silver. The developers at Game Freak had a difficult time finding ways to compress the data and fit both the Johto and Kanto regions into the game. Iwata developed a compression technique that allowed the team to fit both regions into the Game Boy Color cart.
It's an interesting tidbit of information because that compression technique wasn't just limited to the Pokemon games. Nintendo has been notorious for being able to create really large games and fit them into (or onto) really small spaces. This is one of the things that the company has received insurmountable amounts of praise for when it comes to Nintendo Switch titles such as Super Mario Odyssey, ARMS and other Nintendo exclusives.
Thanks to Game Freak including the small backstory on Iwata giving the team a helping hand in compressing the data for the old Pokemon Gold and Silver, gamers can now further appreciate the designer and his efforts as a nice tribute.